When I received a certain book as a gift it caught my attention. It was Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. My first thought was what an unusual title. It sounded kind of foo-foo to me. Then I wondered who in the world was Rob Bell?
Rob Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill in Grandville, Michigan and he grabbed my attention from the opening page. It is a book that talks about what it means to live the kind of life that Jesus teaches us to live. Warning: Once you begin reading it, you will not be able to put it down!
At one point in the book, Rob gives some insight into the spiritual lives of young Jewish boys at the time of Jesus. At around fourteen or fifteen, the best of the best would apply to be a disciple of one of the noted Rabbis. The goal of a disciple wasn't just to know what the Rabbi knew, but to be just like the Rabbi. This level of education was called Bet Midrash.
If the Rabbi thought that young man had what it took, he would say to him,"Come, follow me."
Bell talks about Jesus calling the first disciples. Peter and Andrew were fishermen. Why? Because they weren't disciples. They were not good enough. They had not made the cut. Jesus said, "Come, follow me." Why would they drop their nets and leave fishing behind? Because the Rabbi said you can be like me. You would drop your net too.
Now, what does this have to do with us today? Christians are people learning who they are in Christ. We are being taught about our new identity. Rob says that if people were taught more about who they are, they wouldn't have to be told what to do.
This is the core of discipleship. Who are you right now in Christ? What are you all about because of Christ? Because of who you are, what are the implications of daily living?
Why do we see churches full of people who do not seem much different than their counterparts in the marketplace? They have not figured out who they are. They have not figured out that they are a disciple of the Rabbi. They haven't decided that He has called them to follow Him in every aspect of life.
I'm excited. I've just invited 12 new believers to join me in a small group environment. We are going to look at who we are and why community is so important. I want to pour myself into this group and lead them to see Jesus and His calling on their lives. I'll fill you in as we go along beginning the end of March.